Vale Joan Hilary Bliss

29.9.1926 – 13.8.2017

Men of League Foundation member Joan Bliss (member number 14,952) passed away peacefully on the 13 August 2017.

She was born in 1926, grew up in Kensington in the heartland of the horse racing sport of kings area and the South Sydney Rabbitoh’s Rugby League Club and after leaving School she commenced work with a stevedoring company in Balmain. It was there at work in about 1946 she met the love of her life, a smooth talking, well dressed young salesman from Balmain, who was to become a gifted rugby league player for the Balmain, North Sydney, Manly-Warringah, New South Wales and Australian Rugby League Test team.

The love of her life was Johnny “Blistering” Bliss who was to play 132 first class games during 1942-1953 plus being a beach sprint champion winning 12 Australian Championships in a row from 1939-1952. Joan and Johnny married in January 1952, settled and lived happily in Narrabeen.

In the meantime Joan had become a devoted supporter of the Narrabeen Sharks JRL Club and Manly Warringah RL Club whilst the South Sydney RL Club had become the mortal enemy. With Johnny playing in the 1st grade team for Manly Warringah team, she was present in 1947 when he played on the wing in the first ever Manly Warringah 1st grade premiership match at Brookvale Oval and she went to her final game at Brookie Oval only a year or 2 ago. Sadly Johnny passed away at the age of 52 years old in September 1974.

There were not many people that Joan did not like and get along with except any rugby league referee who, in her opinion, had wronged her Manly Warringah rugby league team in any decisions and there are stories of her scaling the fence at Lidcombe Oval and chasing the referee with her umbrella. She was a regular attendee once a month at a morning tea get together with the “Johnny Bliss Past Runners” , a group of ex rugby league players and beach sprint runners, who Johnny had trained in their heydays.

Joan was much loved by her family, the Northern Beaches Sydney community, the many Members from the local rugby league and surf life saving clubs and she will be dearly remember affectionately by them all.

A memorial service was held on the 13 August 2017 to celebrate Joan’s wonderful life.

Ken Vessey
Wellbeing Coordinator Northern Sydney Men of League Foundation Committee

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